Views on BG | July 27, 2001, Friday // 00:00

Bulgaria's new finance minister has said he would pursue new loan agreements with the IMF and the World Bank, reports the Wall Street Journal Europe. "We need an agreement with the IMF because it is a stamp of approval for the government's economic policy," Milen Velchev is quoted as saying. He was sworn in on Tuesday after the parliament approved the country's new government, headed by former monarch Simeon II, or Simeon de Saxe-Coburg, whose National Movement surged to power in last month's elections following promises to spur economic growth, raise living standards and fight corruption. The movement also pledged to maintain the previous government's prudent financial policies. "I think that we must conclude agreements with the IMF and the World Bank, whose three-year programs in Bulgaria are expiring," said Velchev, who will meet with representatives of the two organizations today (July 27, 2001). The agreements, which expire in September, have brought loans worth nearly $1.2 billion to the country. He said "economic stability and faster and sustainable growth based on larger foreign investment" would be the main objectives of the government's economic policies. In a bid to attract more foreign investment, the government plans to offer tax exemptions for corporations that reinvest their entire profits locally. Along with borrowing from international lenders, Bulgaria also must issue Eurobonds, Velchev said, but he did not provide further details. He also pledged that within a year, the government would privatize the State Savings Bank, which holds most of the savings of small depositors.

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